Always err on the side of love.
Most of us know the story of the fall of man. Adam and Eve were living pretty until Satan tempted them and got them to disobey God. Their pride and sense of wanting to “know” led to them eating of the fruit, realizing their sin and shame, and hiding from the God that created and blessed them.
As they were hiding, God looked for them and the Bible says,
Then the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9 NLT)
Did you catch the subtle response of God?
It’s not what many would expect. Many have a view of God that believes, in the face of sin, He gets angry and immediately sends his wrath down upon the people. That wasn’t God’s response.
Then fire from the LORD came down and burned the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, and the ground around the altar. It also dried up the water in the ditch. (1 Kings 18:38 NCV)
I find it cool that Elijah prayed for the sacrifice to be burnt up and God burnt everything around the sacrifice up as well. This was the part of 1 Kings where God goes face to face with the other “gods” of the day.
Baal couldn’t start a fire… He couldn’t even get a spark going. The prophets of Baal prayed and even shouted for him to start the fire.
People collect different things for different reasons. Some collect stamps. Some collect antiques. Some collect coins. Growing up, I collected baseball cards.
One of the things that I quickly learned about baseball cards is that they can be really valuable. If you don’t know anything about them, some baseball cards can sell for thousands of dollars.
For a piece of cardboard. Usually it’s because they’re rare or limited, but still, that much money for cardboard is kind of crazy.
Do you know what sets their value?
How much someone’s willing to pay.
A baseball card is worth hundreds or thousands of dollars, not because that’s how much it cost to make, but because that’s what someone’s willing to pay for it.
Just a reminder,
Jesus paid the ultimate price… the highest price for you and for me.
Your value is high. You matter. You are significant.
Not because of what you’ve done, but because of Who paid the ultimate price.
Rest in that today!
Hope is one of life’s most basic needs. I know that sounds odd. I know things like food and water are supposed to be in the top of the list, but we should add hope to that list as well.
Those that have lost hope or don’t have hope will tell you just how much of a necessity it is.
Hope is that thing that pushes us forward when we want to give it all up.
Hope is that thing that forces us to hold on when it makes all sense to let go.
Hope is the fuel that allows us to run on fumes.
As long as we have some hope, we still have a chance.
Think about it…
…because the Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made it prosper. (Genesis 39:23)
At the end of Genesis 39, we read that The Lord was with Joseph. If you go back and read that chapter and see it in context, it kinda feels like the Bible is lying to us. Even though Genesis 39 says that The Lord of the universe was with Joseph, the situations he found himself in sure make it seem like God had checked out of his life. Joseph was in the middle of what we would consider hell on earth… His life was in a tough, hard, and depressed place.
Joseph was doing the right thing. It wasn’t like Joseph was living in a way that God couldn’t bless him. In fact, Joseph continued to obey God and help the people around him regardless of where he found himself. Still Joseph was sold by his brothers, thrown in jail, and forgotten about by the very people he served while he was in jail.
…”But The Lord was with Joseph”…
We know the end of the story. We know that, in the end, God was very faithful to Joseph and lifted him up to a place of honor and dignity.
Joseph didn’t see the end while he was in the middle. He didn’t know how it would all end. He just knew that God was with him.
You see, I’ve come to realize that my human eyes can often be tricked. I can look around and see where I am and what’s going on around me and forget that God is with me. When my life is in the “pit,” I can forget that God is preparing a great ending for me if I’ll be faithful.
My human eyes too often overpower my spiritual faith.
…But The Lord…
It doesn’t really matter in the end what comes before or after that, that’s all I really need to know.
Regardless of my situation.
Regardless of my feelings.
Regardless of my outlook.
God is with me.
Regardless of where you are.
Regardless of what you’re being told.
Regardless of the hell that is raging around you…
…But The Lord…
Be encouraged! Keep your faith and your eyes on Jesus. He’s there.
There’s an common saying in ministry that says,
“The message doesn’t change, but the method must.”
That’s a great principle. It means that as churches and ministries, we have to constantly be listening to God’s lead and be in tune with culture and the people we’re trying to reach. It means we have to know the culture we’re doing ministry in and do whatever we think it necessary to reach the people in that culture.
It means that we can never get too convinced on how we do what we do. We can’t be married to the way we do things, who does them, or how often they’re done.
It’s a scene that would do great in a Hollywood movie or on a stage somewhere on Broadway….
– Jesus has just healed a man with leprosy.
– LEPROSY! – that’s not a small cold, that’s a big deal and Jesus did it without any problems. On top of all that, He asked the man to keep it between the two of them
– Jesus heads back to Capernaum and a Roman officer comes up to him and tell Him that his servant is back at his place really sick.
– Jesus, having already taken care of leprosy and a host of deadly disease, tells the officer that He’ll make a house call and go to the servant.
– The Roman officer, having such respect for Jesus tells him…
Everyone has that chore that they just hate doing around the house. You know what I’m talking about. That chore that you and your spouse wait on the other one to do. You always try to wait each other out on doing. For some of you, it’s the trash. You hate taking the trash out, so you let it pile up until nothing else will fit on top of the full trash can.
For my wife and I, that chore is folding laundry.
We hate folding laundry.
Several weeks ago, we were doing some laundry while watching TV one Saturday. I had washed some clothes and put them in the dryer (I don’t mind that part, it’s just the folding I hate). I sat down to watch TV and wait for the clothes to dry. I didn’t think much more about the clothes as I was fully involved in what I was watching.